Wellbeing considerations for home working and self-isolation
Many businesses have begun to embrace the idea of flexible working and working from home. In the current climate, more and more of us may find ourselves plunged into doing so for longer than the one to two days a week, which employers and employees adapt to fairly easily. At Havio, we have asked office-based staff to work from home for the foreseeable future. We will be keeping up to date with advice daily from the government.
Tips for working from home
There is no doubt that as well as the anxiety provoked by a potentially deadly virus and no toilet roll or pasta in the supermarket, we are also facing the very likely fact that many workers will be being plunged into home working for the first time, to speak nothing of the potential requirements for isolation.
Some of those workers may already have experience of a day or so a week, but few of them will have worked full time from home and few of their managers will have managed large teams in such a situation either.
Here are some top tips for home working in imperfect circumstances
Coronavirus: How to protect your mental health
Coronavirus has plunged the world into uncertainty and the constant news about the pandemic can feel relentless. All of this is taking its toll on people’s mental health, particularly those already living with conditions like anxiety and OCD.
The BBC has produced the following article on protecting your mental health during this pandemic.
See our article posted to our News and Insights page recently. (Click here)
What are your rights if working from home?
The BBC has provided the following home working advice page, looking at who provides the equipment when working from home and who is responsible for workers while they work at home.
What’s the best way to stay efficient and keep your spirits up?
1. Get dressed
For some people, the prospect of staying in their pyjamas all day is the most tantalising aspect of working from home. But washing and getting dressed will not only improve your state of mind, it will psychologically prepare you to start work.
Whether you need to change into business attire depends on the type of person you are and the nature of the job you have. Some people find that dressing formally is helpful, and also useful if they need to dial into a video call.
But for many others, the point of getting dressed is being forced to shower and change out of clothes they associate with sleep and rest, even if that means just changing into a T-shirt and jeans.
Wearing respectable clothes also increases motivation to leave the house. Likewise, changing out of work clothes when you clock off for the day helps your brain to understand that the working day is over.
2. Establish boundaries
If you’re employed by a company, you’ll probably have set hours of work, and it’s important to stick to these when you’re working from home. Be ready to start your day at the same time as you would normally arrive in your office or workplace, and finish your day at the same time.
At the end of a working day, it’s best to switch off your computer and tidy away papers and other items. Space allowing, set aside a specific, separate area in your home where you can set yourself up – ideally with a properly adjusted desk and chair, similar to your workplace.
If there are other people in the house, finding a space where you’re not likely to be disturbed is essential.
3. Get out and about (if you’re not self-isolating)
Working from home shouldn’t mean you stay cooped up indoors all day. While you might not miss your daily commute, it does guarantee that you leave the house at least once during the day.
So get your shoes on, get outside and enjoy that fresh air. A different perspective will also help undo mental blocks and give you a fresh pair of eyes for any tasks you’re struggling with.
4. Pick up the phone
If you’re working from home, the chances are you’ll be alone, so you won’t get distracted by colleagues’ conversations and other office noise.
When you’re at work, you’re more likely to engage with colleagues but when you’re working from home, you could spend the whole day without speaking to anyone which can be isolating.
Make some time to pick up the phone and have a real conversation, rather than relying on email and instant messaging.
5. Take regular breaks
It’s good to have a routine when you’re working from home, but work shouldn’t become monotonous.
And you shouldn’t stay glued to your screen all day. It’s important to take regular screen breaks and get up from your desk and move around just as you would in an office.
Research has also found that short breaks throughout the day are more beneficial than less frequent, longer breaks.
Many home workers recommend the Pomodoro Technique, a method of time management which breaks your working day into 25 minute chunks. Each chunk is followed by a 5 minute break.